I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how different my life might be right now if I’d stuck with studying Japanese instead of Film. I’d certainly have a more marketable skill. This link is to an infographic that kinda tells you the milestones involved with studying Japanese, but there’s not really anything there. I seem to remember there being some system for learning kanji in English (as opposed to Japanese or Chinese or something), learn the meaning and how to interpret them, write them, without having to learn the words and so forth. Then it’s just a matter of learning the grammar and pronunciation. The way they usually teach you kanji is the way they learned it, repetition. Here’s 20 blank sheets, fill ’em up with this one character. Here’s 40 blank sheets, fill them up with this character, and then this other character that’s the same but different.
Then do that 10,000 times.
Yeah it’s frustrating. That’s kind of where I gave up on Japanese. I just didn’t have the time in my college workload to do that, and everything else I needed to do. I made a choice, and chose film. And here I am now. But maybe I can get back into it. I want to learn the kanji before I try to get back into the actual Japanese language, though. Anybody know what that english kanji learning system is?
Speaking of the divergent paths I could have taken, writing about film is still something I’d like to do, ultimately with the goal of becoming a good enough writer to write my own stuff. That’s what this blog is all about, after all.
But writing about specific things is hard. Me dumb. Me no like work.
And on that note, I’ma cut this post off there for today.
I’ve been having kind of frightening thoughts lately. Maybe that’s not the right word either.
Last night I attended the premiere of an independent film I spent one day working on. It was visually very interesting, sounded good, good effort all around. Well, except for the writing, and the acting. I mean, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but I just struggled to care about any of the characters. But this post isn’t about the film.
It’s been a while since I’ve been around people I went to school with, people from my filmmaker life. I’d almost forgot what it was like to work in film…and what’s messing with me is I don’t really miss it. I don’t miss that world of call times and hurry up and wait and 16 hour days. Then I go to this screening, and there’s a visual reminder. I’m in a full theater, former teachers are there, my favorite and most talented classmates were there.
And then it hits me, this could be the last time I ever see them.
It was a very surreal experience. That’s all I’m saying.
I hung back to try to say goodbye, but then I fled as soon as I could.
But the real sad part now is that I might have ruined movies for me, because I know too much about how they’re made. So every time I watch TV, every time I go to the movies, I’ll see it. The life I let slip by. The life I wasn’t good enough to live.
Contemplating waking up 4 hours early to save 2 dollars on the bridge toll. What’s wrong with me? They also had my drink ready before I could even order it. Things are getting weird around here.
So anyway, it’s about time I shared some photos. I used to really enjoy photo-blogging more than any other kind of blogging, so here’s where I bring it back. But I gotta limit myself. I got thousands of photos. Hundreds of Thousands. Out of that many, at least a few of them are bound to be good. Even if they’re not great, I still like a lot of them. Too many to share in one post. So I’m going to try to limit myself to 10 or less photos per photo post.
Later on, if I’m say, recounting a trip I took or something, then more photos might be necessary, but I don’t want it to be something I can do just whenever.
I could start anywhere with this, but I figure I might as well start at the beginning. Find the photos I like the most that I uploaded to flickr first. Oh that’s another thing, I keep my photos on flickr. Not really the best place, probably, but it’s where I’ve set up and I’m too lazy to switch.
Some are digital, some are film. I’m pretty sure my film use is only going to go down as time goes on, but there’s still a lot of film just sitting in my freezer. I’m not just gonna forget about that stuff. It just might be a while before I get to it.
So let’s start! I’d love some feedback on these. One thing I really do miss from college is the art critiques. For a while now, I’ve been my own critic, and I’m not the best judge of my own work. Please help!
For a first post, I think I’d like to cover what I like to photograph most. If I sum it all up, the things I like shooting most are extreme bokeh closeup portraits, and random wild stuff. Occasionally I’ll shoot something with good composition by accident. Most of my good shots include a family member, for some reason.
Examples! (In semi-chronological order)
This is a fairly good example of a motif of mine; portrait, wide open, low-light, fast film, family.
That’s my cousin Lisa Ann. I took these photos after I dropped my camera case with a bunch of telephoto zoom lenses inside, so I rushed out to test them. Dropping this lens might have messed up the optics inside a little bit, but if you ask me, this photo still turned out okay. This is also a rare example of me grappling that ‘decisive moment,’ with her foot just coming off the pedal and catching her glimpse back at the camera. It’s very hard to get the decisive moment with an iPhone, I’ve noticed. Perhaps the iPhone 5 will fix that issue.
This is kind of the other side of my low depth of field preferences. This is more of a deep-focus, wide angle shot. My family shows up again, this time from Dad’s side of the family. This is his brother Dave, his wife Mimi, and their dog. I think it’s their newer dog Louie, but it’s possibly their older dog, the late Oscar. I feel like I lucked out with the composition on this one. I’m rarely conscious of composition when I’m taking good photos, if I start to think about composition everything goes to shit.
Here’s another wide-angle deep-focus shot. Something about the southern California desert that really lets me get lucky with composition. By the way, that’s my dad there on the left.
See, whenever I have my mom’s Tamron zoom lens, my tendency is to go wide angle. So here’s another wide angle shot, this time of my uncle Rick (l), and my dad (r). Interestingly, my uncle is the youngest, and my dad is like 6 or more years older than him. Yet somehow, my uncle looks like he could be the oldest.
Speaking of my dad and my uncle Rick…
We go from the desert to the tundra, back where they come from, Madison, Wisconsin. Something about those two, more than their other two brothers, is photogenic. They balance each other pretty well. It even works both ways!
They’re just generally pretty distinctive and interesting looking. Especially together.
The final picture today is the only digital photo I’m going to share this time, and doesn’t include any family members in it.
That’s kind of poetic, isn’t it? I dunno what it means. I love that picture though. Being a norther Californian, I never really got to enjoy the water the way my mom did when she grew up. She had a pool in her back yard, countless lakes and creeks to swim in, and free community pools to share with her neighbors. And it gets so hot there, you have to swim. It’s just the only relief. Here, swimming is more like a chore, and it’s expensive.
I glimpsed that from the freeway, and managed to grab a picture with my old laggy digital camera before we passed it. An alternative title could be “2 guys, a girl, and a dog.” But that’s a little bit too suggestive for you people with naughty minds.
So that’s the 10 photos. I’m gonna share a couple bonus photos ’cause of what I’m up to this evening.
Over a year ago, back in September 2010, I offered to help out on a 1 day movie shoot, doing my best to record location sound at the top of a hill on the coast of Marin.
It was an interesting location, visually. But Jesus Christ was it hard to shoot there. First of all, it was an hour long uphill walk, carrying all the gear we’d need that day. It’s always humid over there, so, while it was cold, you couldn’t wear your coat and do anything strenuous, like walking to where you needed to go.
I recorded sound with what equipment they had. There was a boom pole, kind of, it was actually a broomstick. There was always a lot of signal interference on the wireless mics. And you couldn’t step anywhere without making noise.
Oh and it was cold. Cold cold cold, all day.
It was still pretty fun. Not sure what it was all about, I was only there for that one day. I’m not sure if the work I did was very good. But it was an experience. And because of that, I am now going to watch this movie’s premiere here in San Francisco, in about an hour and a half.
Here’s some pictures from that day on location:
Jessica Fisher is, of course, a genius.
I’m sure the final film will be timed and graded to be more, I don’t know, post-apocalyptic. It was some heavy drama in the scene I was helping out on. Sci-fi something or other. I really don’t know what to expect.
Maybe I’ll review it!
That reminds me, I still need to review The Secret World of Arrietty. I’ll get to it.
But for today, that’ll do. This was a lot of fun. I like sharing photos. I hope they weren’t uninteresting. I look forward to your feedback.
Well, spring training has started and that means, very soon, we’ll be having professional baseball every day.
I’m gonna leave the serious baseball blogging to websites like Athletics Nation, or The SF Chronicle. There’s also an interesting website about the A’s new ball park, as well as other new sporting venues around the country, at newballpark.org.
I’ll be honest, I’m a little less interested this season. For one thing, I wont have as much time to go to games or watch games or otherwise get invested. For another, both of my teams seem to be in a little bit of a funk. Either you have the A’s, in their never ending rebuilding mode, or you have the Giants, who just spent gobs of money on a few players, and both teams are only going to be in it if they get lucky. But that’s what you hope for, right? Your teams getting lucky.
If the Rangers and the Angels get injured or otherwise screw up, that opens the door for the Athletics to really surprise people, ‘cuz the Mariners are shit right now. Same could be said for the Mariners, though. Maybe they have some trick up their sleeves. The Giants at least have money to spend, and they have a chance if they can stay healthy, but they just have to score more runs. The statistic for the average number of runs the Giants scored last year is pretty sad, something like less than 2 per game, right? It felt like that’s what it was, anyway.
One thing I have done the last few years is get a new cap every season. Last year I got 2. I don’t think I’m gonna get 2 this year, but I was hoping to get 1 cap that acted like 2. I mentioned this on twitter yesterday. Here’s what I came up with:
First there’s this one:
Then there’s this one:
And then there’s this abomination:
Modern A’s and Giants fans would probably look down on caps like these. They look at other teams that share markets, and they say “those guys don’t mingle” as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. “Cubs fans don’t like the White Sox” “Met’s fans don’t care for the Yankees” and in the old days “Giants fans hate the Dodgers.” Oh wait, that last one’s still true.
But anyway, that doesn’t have to be so! There was a time when people rooted for Bay Area sports more than any specific team. My cousin and I still feel this way, we’re pro-Bay Area. We’re boosters.
I have always wanted one of these caps:
To me that’s a sign of good sportsmanship, of friendliness. Just what the world needs more of. And besides, we can’t all be New Yorkers with their excellent insult vocabulary. We’re out here in the best place for everything, and they’re all just jealous.
So the other fat white guy at work has had a serious conjunctivitis since I started working there, I feel like I’m getting it.
Maybe I’m just not getting enough sleep. Or maybe it’s just the light by the mirror making it look worse than it is.
Eye strain might be the cause, though. Too much time spent looking at screens, from the TV to the computer to my iPhone. Also, driving is pretty eye-intensive, and I’m doing a lot of that. It could be related to the florescent lighting everywhere; I just know those lights are crap. But is any of that enough to really do damage to my eye? I hope not. I like my eyes.
The worst part is, I always have these bloodshot eyes and I don’t even smoke. It’d be one thing to look like a stoner if I actually was one, but I’m not and I still look like shit. I haven’t earned that stoner look, it’s more like I inherited it.
Another issue with my eyes is, sometimes I see what looks like a brown speck floating in my eyeball. I know my brain is doing a lot of filtering on what my eye actually sees, but for it to miss a spot like that, I worry I’ve done some damage. Maybe I spent too long a time looking at the sun, or my dad welding, or camera flashes, or stage lights. Or maybe it’s more the sign of early diabetic damage. I hope not. I certainly hope it doesn’t get any worse.
Kinda felt like wasting time this morning, so I’ll keep this short.
Am I writing too much? I mean, if I had readers, it’d be okay. But the more I write now, when pretty much nobody is reading, the more people wont want to read it later.
Maybe they wont want to read it ever, anyway.
Maybe the goal should be to write about specific things, and less of this stream of consciousness blog crap. That way, if people want to read old stuff, they just have to search for a tag or a category.
Not sure what to make of this, really. I mean, if I want to write well, I need to write more, but if I write more crap that’s not going to help.
Not sure where to go. Suggestions would be helpful, if there’s anybody out there.
As I expected, the accelerometer inside the iPhone is probably not sensitive enough to accurately track anyone’s sleep patterns. But still, it’s fun to think about.
Interestingly, the app I had been using to track my sleep before this weekend was made by my friend Tom’s major competitor. The one that he suspects is sabotaging his rating and rankings in the App store. Whoops.
I don’t really feel that guilty. After all, I wouldn’t have the app if he hadn’t have told me to download it in the first place. Hell, I wouldn’t even know such an app exists. Anyway, I’m loyal enough to stop using the old app, and I asked Tom which app to try instead. He suggested this one: Sleep Cycle. Now, is this app any better than the other one, which I wont name? Probably not. Does either app truly do anything? Possibly not.
But what the hell, I need to wake up.
Anyway, here’s my chart for last night.
I suspect I’ll only be using this app as long as it takes Tom to make his own sleep app, which is next on his plate.
Speaking of Tom and his apps, Fitness Buddy was featured on Gizmodo this weekend. Since I was responsible for most of the photography and video in that app, I feel like it’s worth plugging here. I do find it ironic that I worked so hard making content for a fitness app–the Gizmodo headline is ‘Stop Being Fat and Get In Shape with Your Smartphone’–and yet I’m very much out of shape, and not even interested in using that app. Maybe I should change that…BUT NOT TODAY.
So, the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance review posted yesterday. I also saw The Secret World Of Arrietty (not to be confused with The Borrower Arrietty, or Arrietty, or The Borrowers) last Friday. I specify the version I saw was the Disney produced American localization, as opposed to the original Japanese or the UK/Australian version. I think it would be interesting to see all three, and maybe someday I will. But for now, I’ve only seen one. Sometime this week, I hope to review it. In short, though, it is a wonderful example of artistry. Even with the American voices, it’s worth seeing on as large a screen as you can. If you have the opportunity, go check it out.
The other thing that is imminent is a new Radio EdSoft Film. Or two. We’ll see. Just gotta finish recording/mixing in the back announces.
Today on the EdSoft blog, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengance.
Enough about that, now. What about Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance?
First a little scenery. Arrived a little bit late to get into this screening, so we had to sit up in the front row.
Did I mention this film is in 3D? Oy.
It worked out surprisingly well. The 3D effect was worst on the far right side of the screen, since we were on the left, but thankfully there was only 2 or 3 shots in the whole movie where the main focus of the image was on the right side. I can see some of the front row appeal, as illuminated by David Bordwell/, and Roger Ebert. I don’t think it’s something I would do for every movie I see, especially if I had a choice about where to sit (I prefer about 5th or 6th row center, usually behind the aisle in modern theaters, right in the sound sweet spot), but there is some fun in seeing a scope picture and having to turn your neck to see the whole picture. Kind of makes you pay attention. Tell you what else makes you pay attention: sitting right in front of the sub woofer. The only real down side, apart from the 3D problems, was there were some crazy hand held shots in the beginning. It’s hard to follow that when you’re in the front row. The other problem with sitting in the front row, it was more obvious when they switched from their nice cameras to their lower-quality consumer-grade cameras. Sit a few rows further back and this shouldn’t be a problem for most people.
So why would you see this movie? I can think of a couple reasons.
You’re a fan of the comic. I mean, there must be some fans out there somewhere.
You like Nicolas Cage. Especially the crazy Nic Cage.
You’re into supporting Marvel, especially its less popular titles.
You’re a fan of 3D.
You’re a fan of fake religious movies.
You like an old Christopher Lambert covered in tattoos.
There was also this woman, Violante Placido, in the movie, playing the Kid (immaculate son of Satan)’s mom. Stephan, who got me into this movie, was really interested in this woman for some reason, but her role in the film was unexciting, and really anybody could have played that part. But if you’re a fan, you might get more out of her performance than I did.
Sometimes this movie was weird on purpose, and that’s always good. I bet you’ll never look at a flame thrower the same way again. But some things were weird with little explanation. For instance, this movie is supposed to be in Italy or Spain, or something European like that, but half way through the movie they go to an ‘American truck stop.’ I doubt such a place is in Europe, but I could be wrong.
If you’re a fan of b-movies, which I am, then I think you can get a kick out of a movie like this. I would just try not to pay for it. Or if you have to, see a matinee.
This being my first movie review, I’m going to explain my rating system. I’m going to use the star system I currently use on my iTunes library. 5 possible stars.
When it relates to music, the stars break down like this:
5 stars: I’ll listen at almost any time. Very good.
4 stars: good, but I wouldn’t want it to take up space that could be taken up by a 5 star.
3 stars: it’s still good, but it does something that makes me not want to hear it very often, if ever.
2 stars: awful. I could never hear it again and be totally happy.
1 star: worst of the worst. Usually only have them for completionist purposes.
I’m not sure how this applies to movies yet, but I plan to figure it out as I go.
I feel distracted, having a lot of trouble keeping up.
Basically I’m very disappointed in myself.
Hopefully I’m not coming down with anything serious, but I don’t feel well. I’m kind of nauseous, with heart burn and gas problems.
Thoughts going through my head are along the lines of “gosh I hate my body.” At first specific body parts; my digestive system, my stomach, all the areas that are uncomfortable as I try to go to sleep. But then I have to conclude that it’s not just those parts, it’s everything. In the words of BASEketball, [my body] was a team effort and it took everybody working together to lose this one.
It’s not really my body that sucks. Considering what I’ve done to it, I could probably be in worse shape. That’s what really makes me hate myself. I could probably overcome these ‘problems’ of mine with a little hard work, some new attitudes about things. But for nearly 20 years, I haven’t. And that’s such a long period of time with no real beneficial change in my diet or exercise programs, that I can’t help but look at it like its never going to happen.
I’m going to be like this, or worse, for the rest of my life.
I don’t see any speed bumps or course corrections in the foreseeable future.
Anyway, still half way finished on a bunch of stuff I started last week, from new Radio EdSoft Films, to the reviews of Ghost Rider and The Secret World Of Arriety And photos too I guess.
Tomorrow is another holiday, dunno if I’ll be online or not. Hope you’ll bother to check in.
‘Til Monday. Or zzzz, woah I literally typed zzzz because I’m falling asleep.